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Cindy McCain splits with John on 'don't ask, don't tell.' Meghan's with mom.

Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, publicly objects to military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on gay service members. The senator has helped block legislation to repeal it.

By Staff writer / November 12, 2010

Sen. John McCain and his wife Cindy McCain speak to reporters outside a polling place in the Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 2.

Joshua Lott/Reuters

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Cindy McCain is speaking publicly about her dislike of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gays from serving openly in the military. In an antibullying video released by the NOH8 campaign, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona says, among other things, that the “government treats the [gay] community like second-class citizens.”

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It’s Mrs. McCain’s second appearance in an ad for NOH8, a gay rights group. But in the first she did not speak – she appeared with silver duct tape across her mouth and the group’s name written on her cheek.

Senator McCain is one of the key lawmakers blocking repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Such a repeal has passed both House and Senate committees, but McCain has helped block it from moving forward, saying he wants to study a forthcoming Pentagon report on the issue.

Will this family split make for a bit of awkwardness around the dinner table on Thanksgiving? After all, Meghan McCain, Cindy and John’s daughter, has been an outspoken advocate of gay rights, as well.

In her recent book, “Dirty Sexy Politics,” Ms. McCain the younger complains that the base of the Republican Party is becoming narrower and narrower, and is no longer the party of individual freedom promoted by Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

“We need to make room for all Republicans,” she writes in her book. “That means my gay friends ... shouldn’t have to pretend they aren’t gay – or have an unequal, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell kind of lifestyle – if they want to find a place in the Republican Party.”

Ms. McCain depicts her father with fondness in her book, however. At least, for the most part. In her recounting, he does not seem to be part of that “narrower and narrower” party thing.

And Senator McCain in public has reacted mildly when the subject is brought up. When his wife first appeared in a NOH8 ad, his office issued a statement saying he “respects the views of members of his family but remains opposed to gay marriage.”

After all, his is not the only prominent GOP family that has internal differences of opinion on this issue. Laura Bush in interviews has affirmed her own support for gay marriage – something George W. opposed during his time in the Oval Office.

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